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Blu-ray Review: The King of Staten Island

August 25, 2020

By John Corrado

One of my favourite movies of the year so far, Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island is being released on Blu-ray this week, after bypassing theatres and going straight to premium video on demand earlier this summer.

The film stars Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson in the semi-autobiographical role of Scott Carlin, an aspiring tattoo artist drifting through his twenties and still living with his mother (Marisa Tomei), having never fully recovered from losing his firefighter father as a kid.

It’s a very strong performance that was presumably quite therapeutic for him to perform and write, and the film itself is Apatow’s best since Funny People, offering something that is both very funny and also quite touching. For more on the film itself, you can read my full review right here.

Original Film Rating: ★★★½ (out of 4)

Release Date: June 12th (Digital/VOD), August 25th (Blu-ray/DVD)

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The Blu-ray comes with a regular DVD and digital copy, as well as over two hours of bonus features. This is not an exaggeration; the disc is packed with content, most of which is quite good.

Alternate Endings (Which Didn’t Work!) (3 minutes, 51 seconds): There are two clips included here, Family Breakfast (1 minute, 25 seconds) and Career Day (2 minutes, 25 seconds), and it’s true; they don’t quite work. The actual ending of the film is much more impactful, but these scenes are still pretty enjoyable to see on their own.

Deleted Scenes (15 minutes, 34 seconds): A selection of ten scenes (Drive to Cemetery/Cemetery, Beach Walk, Zoots/Pepe Fight, Grounders Challenger, Scott at Work, Police at Richie’s House, Sound Machine, Ray Picks Up Kids from Gina’s House, Construction, Firefighters at Bar) that were cut from the film. It’s understandable why these were cut for time, but there are still some nice moments here.

Gag Reel (5 minutes, 53 seconds): A highlight reel of flubbed lines and some amusing examples of the actors goofing off on the set.

Line-O-Rama (4 minutes, 37 seconds): A staple of any Apatow release, showcasing the actors doing improv and riffing on certain lines.

The Kid From Staten Island (19 minutes, 4 seconds): This nearly twenty piece does an excellent job of exploring Davidson’s personal connection to the material and how much of it was taken from his own life. Centred around a sit-down conversation between Apatow and Davidson, and featuring appearances from Davidson’s real life mother and sister, the featurette goes surprisingly deep into Davidson’s childhood trauma and mental health challenges, and how making the film has helped him heal.

Judd Apatow’s Production Diaries (31 minutes, 44 seconds): Apatow talks to the camera from set, taking us through the shoot. It’s informative, entertaining, and offers a pretty well rounded “behind the scenes” look at the film.

You’re Not My Dad: Working With Bill Burr (4 minutes, 42 seconds): This featurette focuses on Burr’s integral supporting role. Davidson talks about his longtime friendship with the standup comic, and getting him to act in the film as his fictional mother’s new boyfriend.

Margie Knows Best: Working With Marisa Tomei (3 minutes, 21 seconds): Apatow and Davidson gush over Tomei’s work in the film as Scott’s mother Margie, including how she spent time with Davidson’s real life mother, Amy Davidson, to really nail down her performance.

Friends With Benefits: Working With Bel Powley (3 minutes, 54 seconds): A nice look at Powley’s excellent work in the film, and how her real life friendship with Davidson informed their onscreen chemistry.

Sibling Rivalry: Working With Maude Apatow (4 minutes, 35 seconds): Maude Apatow, the daughter of Judd Apatow who portrays Scott’s sister, talks about her role, as Davidson reflects on how much of his own relationship with his sister that he put into the film.

Best Friends: Working With Ricky, Moises, & Lou (3 minutes, 56 seconds): Davidson talks about the trio of actors who portray Scott’s friends in the film, including his real life best friend Ricky Velez who also has a co-producer credit.

Papa: Working With Steve Buscemi (2 minutes, 51 seconds): Buscemi brings a lot of heart to the film with his wonderful role as an older firefighter affectionately called Papa, and this featurette provides a nice look at his memorable performance, as well as how the actor’s former career as a firefighter made him perfect for the part.

Friends of Firefighters Stand-Up Benefit (6 minutes, 19 seconds): A selection of clips from a benefit that Apatow and Davidson hosted in New York during the shoot, featuring appearances from Bill Burr, Ricky Velez and Lynne Koplitz.

Scott Davidson Tribute (5 minutes, 28 seconds): A tribute to Pete Davidson’s real life father, Scott Davidson, a New York firefighter who died on 9/11. Those who knew him reflect on his legacy, including family, friends and firefighter colleagues, many of whom appear in the film in background roles.

Official Trailer (2 minutes, 27 seconds): The official red band trailer for the film.

Who is Pete Davidson? (3 minutes, 27 seconds): Another look at the film’s enigmatic star and co-writer, and how his real life informed the somewhat fictionalized story.

The Firehouse (3 minutes, 17 seconds): Apatow and Davidson talk about filming in an actual firehouse, and the responsibility they felt to capture these scenes authentically.

Pete’s Casting Recs (2 minutes, 56 seconds): Davidson talks about getting many of his real life friends cast in the film, and wanting to give them roles where they could really shine.

Pete’s ‘Poppy’ (Grandpa) (1 minutes, 51 seconds): A brief look at the very funny cameo role that Davidson’s own grandfather has in the film, mostly made up of moments that were already covered in the longer featurettes.

Video Calls (20 minutes, 45 seconds): A selection of four Skype calls that were put out as part of the marketing campaign to both promote the film and announce the choice to release it on VOD.

Video Call #1: Pete Gets Judd to Release the Movie (4 minutes, 9 seconds)

Video Call #2: Pete Asks Judd Where the Trailer Is (3 minutes, 48 seconds)

Video Call #3: Judd and Pete Tell Bill Burr There’s No Premiere (2 minutes, 46 seconds)

Video Call #4: Judd and Pete on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (10 minutes, 3 seconds)

Feature Commentary: A commentary track featuring director/co-writer Judd Apatow and actor/co-writer Pete Davidson, recorded remotely.

The King of Staten Island is a Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 138 minutes and rated 14A.

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